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In a digital world in the making, digital natives develop new learning profiles, interests, and way of working. Simultaneously teachers are facing students with lack of engagement and motivation with quite traditional learning process that has probably to be reframed considering the effects of digital transformation in the education sector. This issue is acute when it comes to complex subject of study, such as SQL geospatial to manipulate the geospatial characteristic of data. Indeed, some common difficulties have been identified by teachers from HEIG-VD university both in Media Engineering and Geomatics fields of study. The user-centered approach aims at creating digital products highly responding to the user’s needs through techniques improving the user experience. Various aspects have to be considered, including emotions. In education, gamification, along with user experience, interface design and usability best practices is one promising approach able to increase the learner's engagement, interest and motivation. It aims to implement game mechanics within non-game context, in order to motivate the learner to accomplish a task and increase the ability to learn new skills. Using a gamification layer within a given context, being digital or not, act as a motivational trigger. It helps giving meaningful, enjoyable and empowering experience. SQL Island is a project from Kaiserslautern University of Technology which illustrates very well a gamified learning experience of the SQL special-purpose programming language. The GeoSQL Journey project goes further, tackling SQL geospatial to learn in a fun way how to manipulate the geospatial characteristic of data. It is a gamified pedagogical application to introduce the students to the practice of SQL geospatial during the first hours or days of the course. Serving as an initiation, it is designed to focus on intrinsic motivation (personal development, quest, challenge and fulfillment) with learning objectives determined and integrated with an engaging and coherent game world and narrative. This paper describes the early work of conceptual design of the GeoSQL Journey project. Game mechanics and game interface has been conceived and brought together according to the literature in the domain and best practices on this matter. The following step for this project is to elaborate a testing method without yet having to develop an application prototype (e.g. organizing a fairly raw tabletop game associated with a classic SQL console) so as to challenge the design with students and teachers to get their feedbacks. Also, it is envisioned to evaluate how existing open source gamification tools and frameworks would be suitable to develop the first prototype planned for the 2019-2020 academic year.
This submission is intended for the OGRS'2018 Collection.